Tour de Ski event returns Jan. 24

Friday, Jan. 9, 2009 2:36 AM
Three cross country skiers work their way up an incline during the 2008 Tour de Ski marathon, held near Purgatory. The long-distance Nordic races, scheduled for Jan. 24, include a 42-kilometer option and a 22-kilometer option. There also are shorter 6K and 12K courses available for the benefit event.

The Tour de Ski, a long-distance cross country ski test, is back.

Skiers are needed, and volunteers are needed.

The second annual Nordic skate-ski race will make its return on Saturday, Jan. 24.

The race, with a start and finish at the top of Purgatory, will feature marathon-like options of 42 kilometers or 22 kilometers (with an elevation game of approximately 3,000 feet).

There also will be shorter 6K and 12K options.

The event is a benefit for Trails 2000 and the Durango Nordic Ski Club.

The tour will utilize the Hermosa Valley for a big section of the course.

The event will feature climbs up to Cascade Divide Road and rest stations, complete with hot chocolate and cookies from Bread, the local bakery.

The Tour de Ski is the brainchild of Durango residents Travis Brown, a former Olympic mountain bike racer, and his wife, Mary Monroe, executive director of Trails 2000.

They helped put together a star-studded organizing committee that includes two-time Olympian Mike Elliott, Jamie Morehart-Wienk (former Nordic Junior Olympian and coach), Bob Rule (San Juan Ski Co.), Helen Low (Nordic center director) and Jeanne Pastore (Durango Nordic Ski Club coach).

Pastore will serve as the race director for this year's event.

Volunteers for all phases of the event are needed. For volunteer information, call 385-4571.

Registration is available online at or at Pine Needle Mountaineering or Backcountry Experience in Durango.

Trails 2000, founded in 1988, maintains and builds local trails and educates trail users in the Durango area.

Trails 2000 volunteers contribute more than 3,000 hours of trail work annually to the Forest Service, BLM, county, city and private landowners.

Trails 2000 also was the recipient of the 2008 Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region Recreation Partner of the Year Award.